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Release Date: Thursday, November 1st 2012

INAUGURAL PEOPLES GAS HOLIDAY MARKET™ READIES FOR MARKET SQUARE

European Tradition to Showcase Multi-cultural Tourism Attraction
Santa’s House to Benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will transform Market Square into a European-style village this holiday season. Title-sponsored by Peoples Natural Gas, the new tourism attraction and economic driver will focus on continuing the highly successful momentum of the PDP’s annual Light Up Night® on November 16. Now in its 52nd year and one of the largest holiday celebrations in the country, Light Up Night® and the next day Holiday Saturday annually attract more than 800,000 people and generate an economic impact of $21 million.

“Market Square will take on a festive atmosphere where families and friends can enjoy the season, “said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “Our goal is to create synergy and increased volume among businesses, along with dynamic new Downtown visitor experiences while providing sustainable marketing exposure throughout the holiday season. Downtown is a very special place during this time of year. The introduction of a European market will complement the world class entertainment and unique dining and shopping experiences only offered in Downtown.”

The Peoples Gas Holiday Market™ will be a unique regional destination in the historic Market Square set in the heart of the Golden Triangle. The Market will kick-off with a grand ribbon cutting ceremony and daytime rooftop fireworks (following the My Macy’s Parade) on Saturday, November 24 at 12Noon and open daily at11am through Sunday, December 23. The Market will be open during the following times weekly: Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“The Holiday Market is Peoples’ gift to the region this holiday season. We are once again a hometown natural gas company and our vision is to build long-term economic growth for this region,” said Morgan O’Brien, President and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas. “The Holiday Market will have a strong economic impact on the region and will be a catalyst to connect the cultural, tourism and retail activities of Downtown Pittsburgh all season long.”
The Market is also made possible by the generous support of two Founding Sponsors, Colcom Foundation and Laurel Foundation. According to Betty Tata, President of the Laurel Foundation and John Rohe, Vice President of Colcom Foundation,” The Holiday Market is reminiscent of season celebrations originating in European town squares during the middle ages. The Market will now afford the region an opportunity to embrace its cultural heritage by creating another Pittsburgh tradition.”

Designed in the tradition of the Northern European holiday markets and inspired by the original Christkindlmarkt created in 1545 in Nuremberg, Germany and the most successful Christkindlmarket in North America, held in Chicago, the Peoples Gas Holiday Market™ will provide a one-of-a-kind shopping experience as visitors stroll around the musically-choreographed Market Square Season of Lights, a magnificent display of 150,000 LEDs, including a 33-foot tall sphere tree.

National, international, regional and local vendors will display unique collectibles and gift items in colorful Alpine-style wooden chalets, designed and constructed locally by the Carpenters Connection, and adorned with illuminated holly. The broad range of specialty gift categories will span the globe and include hand-blown glass ornaments, nutcrackers, and more. Merchants will offer old world collectibles and uniquely crafted gift items from Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Poland, Austria and more.

A Partial List of Vendors and Items:
●Adar & Mimi---Custom embroidery, tutus, hand-crafted purses
●Alpine Heritage--Austrian nativity scenes, hand-blown ornaments, Polish ceramics
●Artel- -Faberge egg pendants and lockets by Russian master jewelers
●Cha Ching Coin Jewelry- Distinctive jewelry made from exotic coins from across the globe
●Euro Haus--Tapestries, jewelry and scarves from Turkey, Russia, Austria; German Moravian stars
●European Folk Art--Hand-crafted collectibles from Poland including wooden eggs, Santas, chess sets
●Gorilla Dust Designs--specially designed keepsake jewelry
●Ivana’s Igloo---Candles, decorative candle pins, fragrant soaps
●Linda Barnicott Art & Gifts---Magnificent holiday scenes and famous sites around Pittsburgh
●Little Europe---Hand-painted eggs, wooden toys, jewelry and treasures from Slovakia, Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic.
●Old German Christmas---Authentic hand-blown and hand-painted glass ornaments, German collectibles.
●The Glass Haus—Finest crafted Buri Glass from Switzerland.
●Style Truck—Women’s accessories
●Trib Total Media Store—variety of Pittsburgh collectibles
●Wagman Designs—Nature-inspired jewelry.
*All vendors subject to change

Cultural Showcase Stage
The Cultural Showcase Stage and International Holiday Saturdays will present the sounds of the season and nostalgic performances. Holiday shoppers will be entertained by a variety of performers and community groups, including local ethnic singing and dance groups, harmonic church and school choirs and festive carolers. The stage will demonstrate Pittsburgh’s rich cultural heritage in nationalities that formed our melting pot as we know it today. Performances times are 12noon and 5p.m. daily and all day Saturdays. Performers include the renowned Pittsburgh Area Slovak Folk Ensemble (PAS), the Junior Tamboritzans, dancers along with musicians representing the German and Italian culture, and more.

Santa’s House to Benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
There’s good news for all good boys and girls on Santa’s check list--Santa Claus will call Market Square home this holiday season! Desmone and Associates Architects, with structural engineering support provided by WBCM, were commissioned to design a grand new house just for Santa. Brimming with 576 square feet of holiday magic come-to-life, the whimsical house will feature a bay window, a playful ice-capped chimney and rooftop glass stars forming the Big Dipper Constellation guiding Santa and his sleigh home towards the North Star. Visitors will enter the Candy Cane Gateway and letters may be deposited in Santa’s mail box for special express delivery of ‘wish lists’ to the North Pole. A clock reminds visitors of the month and day until Christmas arrives.

The entry doors come in small-‘child-size’, medium and large-‘Santa-size.’ Guests will wait in the ‘
‘Cupcake-style’ room topped with ‘Noel Candle’ to catch a glimpse of the Jolly Big Guy in the red suit.

While waiting to visit Santa, children and adults will learn proper natural gas safety tips from one of the leaders in the industry. Safety is one of the core values of Peoples Natural Gas, including the proper care of their employees and protecting millions of customers from a hazardous environment serving as a top company priority. Santa says Peoples Natural Gas delivers vital safety messages regarding protecting your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide, to identifying natural gas leaks, and even how consumers can save on their heating bills.

Photos with Santa will be provided with donations of cash or non-perishable food items to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The charitable effort is another community commitment by Peoples Natural Gas. “The Food Bank” is so grateful to Peoples Gas and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership for this opportunity to meet a new audience and collect food for struggling families,” said Lisa A. Scales, CEO of the Food Bank. “Stocking the Food Bank shelves at this time of year is critical to our being able to meet the demands of the holidays and the whole winter. Perhaps people don’t realize that while the food Bank serves more than 120,000 people every month, it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 people in Southwestern Pennsylvania who are at risk of going hungry, including 120,000 children. ”

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